Our next studio spotlight is Paradise Photography, located in the Turks and Caicos Islands! Christine is the owner of the award-winning photography business after practicing law for over a decade in Washington D.C.! She is known for not only her beautiful work, but also her lively and fun personality. With her talented team including Master Photographer James Roy, Frank Kentaro Withers, Romello Williams, along with talented interns, designers, and assistants, they have found great success in portraits, weddings, real estate, events, and stock/fine art photography. Paradise maximizes their total sales by creating and selling environmental portrait images for the wall, and storytelling images for their professional photo album. Paradise is also passionate about giving back to the community through various opportunities, such as teaching hands-on experience to young aspiring photographers, supporting local vendors, donating photography to local charities, judging art competitions, and speaking at local schools.
Christine, what do you love about shooting in your area?
Our area is a one-of-a-kind location. There is nowhere else in the world quite like the Turks and Caicos. The white sandy beach known as Grace Bay Beach has received the award for the #1 beach in the WORLD many years in a row. The Turks & Caicos also was awarded #1 island in the world by Trip Advisor. The beautiful and bright Caribbean colors of jewel-toned greens and brilliant blue water and white puffy clouds is a photographers dream.
What is something your business tried and you learned from (either by it succeeding or failure)?
Our market here in the Caribbean is primarily a tourist-based marketplace where tourists spend an average of 7 days on the island. We try to always meet with our clients before they leave the island. We found this has been very effective. It’s sometimes difficult due to a short stay so we often have to do a lot of prioritizing and juggling in order to make the meeting happen.
What was your first camera? What do you shoot with now?
My first camera was a Canon film camera from my Uncle from when I was in 7th grade. I currently use the Canon 5D Mark III with all professional level lenses. My favorites are the 70-200mm F2.8 and the 24mm 2.8. Working in a tropical environment, the Canon system is very durable with the humidity, heat and other difficult elements. The Canon Mark III also works really well in very bright conditions, which is mainly our environment.
How do you find your customers?
We mainly find out customers through the internet, the concierges/resorts, or Wedding Planners. Because we are located on a Caribbean island, most of our clients find us through the web or the resort when they arrive. It’s different than in the U.S. where they might walk into our studio. Most all of our work is done “on location” and not in a studio.
Do you prefer to shoot by yourself or with an assistant and why?
I prefer using an assistant. My assistant primarily lights for me and I found my image quality and complexity improved when I had a “roving” light stand. Another reason to use an assistant for beach work is make sure your light stands or equipment doesn’t blow over or fall into the water. Also, an assistant can move easily around. So, when I have my wedding couples or families walk on the beach, they can be lit by my assistant while they are walking.
If you could go back and time and shoot one event in history, what would it be?
I would have loved to photograph the wedding of Prince Charles & Lady Diana.
If you had a magical genie lamp, what would you change about the photography industry?
I would have the major photography associations do public information campaigns like other professional associations (realtors, doctors, etc) advertising to the public about hiring a professional photographer. This campaign would show the difference between what people take as hobbyist images versus professional images.
How Paradise Photography achieves their album sales:
Book sales are a very important component to our product offering. We entrust our Photobooks design and production to Zookbinders. Having high quality products that are beautiful to look at and are durable is important. Our shooting and selling strategy is to maximize total sales by creating and selling environmental portrait images for the wall, and storytelling images for the Zookbinders Photobook.
We primarily offer two types of Photobooks to our clients: the 8×8 Wraparound, and the 10×10 Wraparound with and without leather binding. Our top seller is the 8×8 Wraparound Photobook. Our clients tend to love the wraparound image as most of the times their favorite image is of them on the beach. Who wouldn’t like to look at a photo of the #1 beach in the world on the cover of their book!